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Ask Billboard: Justin Timberlake & *NSYNC’s Career Album & Song Sales

Plus, digging deeper into chart honors for Ed Sheeran & Charlie Puth.

Submit questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, tweet @gthot20


@gthot20 can we get an update on Justin Timberlake‘s U.S. sales? #AskBillboard   

Dari‏ @tattooedreams

Hi Dari,

In honor of that famous frontman who’s headed up a dynasty in his field throughout the 2000s and hopefully has another successful Super Bowl performance tonight (wait, who do you think this New England sports fan is referring to?), here’s a look at Justin Timberlake’s career U.S. album and song sales, as well as *NSYNC‘s, according to Nielsen Music.    

Not on the lists below: Timberlake’s new album Man of the Woods, released Friday (Feb. 2), and its latest single, “Say Something,” featuring Chris Stapleton, which should make a splashy debut on the Billboard Hot 100 this coming week; highlights of the newest Hot 100’s top 10 will be revealed tomorrow (Feb. 5), with all charts updating on Tuesday (Feb. 6).    


Justin Timberlake Album Sales
4,720,000, FutureSex/LoveSounds; 3,969,000, Justified; 2,579,000, The 20/20 Experience; 1,137,000, The 20/20 Experience

Justin Timberlake Digital Song Sales (million-selling songs)
4.9 million, “SexyBack”; 3.9 million, “Mirrors”; 3.5 million, “Dead and Gone” (T.I. feat. Timberlake); 3.4 million, “Holy Grail” (JAY-Z feat. Timberlake); 3.3 million, “Suit & Tie” (feat. JAY-Z)

3.28 million, “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”; 2.8 million, “What Goes Around…Comes Around”; 2.5 million, “My Love” (feat. T.I.); 2.3 million, “Carry Out” (Timbaland feat. Timberlake); 2 million, “Rock Your Body”

1.6 million, “Summer Love”; 1.5 million, “Not a Bad Thing”; 1.2 million, “Cry Me a River”; 1.12 million, “LoveStoned/I Think She Knows”; 1.11 million, “Love Never Felt So Good” (Michael Jackson & Timberlake)

As a soloist, Timberlake’s U.S. totals stand at 12.4 million albums sold; 2.6 billion on-demand song streams; and 45 billion in cumulative airplay audience.


*NSYNC Album Sales
11,175,000, No Strings Attached; 8,863,000, *NSYNC; 4,932,000, Celebrity; 2,865,000, Home for Christmas; 528,000, Greatest Hits; 34,000, The Essential *NSYNC

*NSYNC Digital Song Sales (top five, with the group’s catalog predating the start of downloads)
1.1 million, “Bye Bye Bye”; 526,000, “Tearin’ Up My Heart”; 443,000, “It’s Gonna Be Me”; 297,000, “I Want You Back”; 371,000, “This I Promise You”

The boy band’s U.S. totals to date: 28.8 million albums sold; 562 million on-demand song streams; and 19 billion in airplay audience.

“Without giving too much away, we’re doing a few things with this halftime show that they’ve never quite done before,” Timberlake said this past week. “I always like to push to do something like that.”

(Actually, Sunday’s main festivities depend on your point of view.)

“But also, on a more serious note,” he said, “It’s a moment where you have the opportunity to bring so many people together through what I think is the greatest art form.”


Hi Gary,

Not sure if you were aware, but at Christmas, while Ed Sheeran was at No. 1 in the U.S., on the Hot 100, with “Perfect,” he was also No. 1 on the Official UK Singles chart.

The last time that the top of the Hot 100 and UK charts aligned previously at Christmas was 25 years ago, in 1992, when Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” led on both sides of the Atlantic (the ocean, not the record label on which “Perfect” was released).

Kind regards,

Mike Sowden

Thanks Mike,

Yet more honors for the six-week No. 1 on each ranking, as (shameless plug!) Ed’s brother, Matt, discusses on this week’s Billboard Chart Beat Podcast, as he helmed string orchestration on the “Perfect Symphony” version with Andrea Bocelli.

“I knew the sort of stuff he likes,” Matt says of working with Ed on the song, whose version featuring Bocelli’s vocals has drawn 79 million global YouTube views. “He wanted to do a more left-field sort of thing, a classic sound, a sort of Frank Sinatra vibe with a full orchestra, where it builds up. So, I listened to loads of Nelson Riddle arrangements, and Nat King Cole, to get pumped up.

“It worked out really well.”


Dear Gary,

With Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” having hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 and in his native UK, I was reminded of another song by that title that also topped the Official UK Singles chart, almost 30 years ago: by Fairground Attraction.


Jesper Tan
Subang Jaya, Malaysia

Hi Jesper,

Good memory. The British band’s signature song stopped at No. 80 on the Hot 100 (dated Jan. 14 1989), but showed uncommon multi-format appeal. It reached No. 23 on Alternative Songs (then-named Modern Rock), No. 31 on Adult Contemporary and No. 85 on Hot Country Songs.

The composition became a much bigger hit on Hot Country Songs in 1990, when Baillie and the Boys’ cover rose to No. 23.


Hi Gary,

With Camila Cabello‘s “Havana” having hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 two weeks ago, featured rapper Young Thug became the third chart-topping act with “Thug” in its name.


There was Slim Thug, who led for five weeks beginning Feb. 4, 2006 [exactly 12 years ago today], as featured on Beyoncé’s “Check on It.”

Also, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, with one of that outfit’s members, Krayzie Bone, notching a solo No. 1, too. The former led for eight weeks in 1996 with “Tha Crossroads” and the latter reigned for two weeks in 2006 as featured on Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’.”

Hmm … yet another tie-in for Camila with a group featuring Harmony in its name.

Pablo Nelson
Oakland, California



I’ve been thinking, Halsey is now like a female Charlie Puth. At least Hot 100 history-wise.

Each artist first’s Hot 100 top 10 was in a featured role and spent 12 weeks at No. 1. Then, approximately two years later, each hit the top five for the first time on their own, reaching No. 5.

Jake Rivera

Hi Jake,

Fun coincidence. (There’s no Puth subway stop on the L, though.)

To recap:

Charlie Puth
First Hot 100 top 10: “See You Again,” Wiz Khalifa feat. Puth, No. 1 (12 weeks), 2015
First Hot 100 top five as a lead: “Attention,” No. 5, 2017

First Hot 100 top 10: “Closer,” The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey, No. 1 (12 weeks), 2016
First Hot 100 top five as a lead: “Bad at Love,” No. 5, 2018


“I didn’t feel like an artist until ‘Attention’ came out,” Puth says in this week’s Billboard cover story. “I feel like people are just starting to get it.”

Puth’s second  full-length, VoiceNotes, is due in May. The set “had a lot to do with my surroundings. I spent a lot of time traveling the world alone in hotel rooms. Sometimes I’d be in the south of France, with that warm, balmy breeze coming through, and white linen curtains, seeing this girl I just called it off with, looking at the ocean, and Janet Jackson’s ‘Come Back to Me’ is playing.

“I want to be the one who makes the modern-day version of that song.”